Category Archives: theatre companies

Twelfth Night at Belvoir Street

From 23 July, Sydney.

One of the highlights of Shakespeare performance in Sydney this year will surely be Belvoir’s production of Twelfth Night.

Twelfth Night manages to be a joyous festival of inversions – “Girls are boys, boys are girls, puritans are lusting suitors, drunkards are moralists, and fools, of course, are wise” – while also revealing just how destabilised these changes to the expected order of things can make us feel. It identifies love absolutely with this feeling that the earth is tipping beneath our feet. “Even so quickly may one catch the plague.” It also shows love as the search for the right matched self – order is restored when we finally see clearly what is in front of us. It is for these things that this play has remained so adored, and so often performed.

Director Eamon Flack has leant heavily towards a cast of veteran actors who know and love their Shakespeare. This will be a chance to see a much loved text spoken by actors who understand fully the rhythms and nuances that create Shakespeare’s characters. It will be interesting to see what is brought to the story by an Orsino who really should know better, or a Malvolio who really, REALLY should know better by now.

This play’s seeming foolery forces us to ask the question: how can we know for sure who it is we love?

Mixed group of actors in a rehearsal room, dancing.
Image by Brett Boardman

23 July – 4 September 2016
8pm Saturday 23 July
6.30pm Sunday 24 July
8pm Tuesday 26 July
Opening Night
8pm Wednesday 27 July
Unwaged Performance
2pm Thursday 1 September
Sunday Forum
3pm 4 September
Tuesday & Wednesday 6.30pm, Thursday & Friday 8pm,
Saturday 2pm & 8pm, Sunday 5pm
Box Office 02 9699 3444


Margaret of Anjou arrives in Sydney

8 July, 18 August, Sydney.

“This spark will prove a raging fire.”

A French Queen of England, a loyal adulteress, a devoted leader but a devastating foe, Queen Margaret is one of Shakespeare’s most vivid renderings of a historic character. Intrigue, betrayal, romance and revenge coloured the life of this brilliant and compelling woman.

In the 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death, countless theatre makers have wrestled with the task that has become a constant in theatrical practice: how do we make this new? We have seen Hamlet played by lions, The Taming of the Shrew in a high school and Macbeth in a kitchen, but only a very brave few have had the ingenuity to take Shakespeare’s words and craft a new play, with ‘all the right words, but not necessarily in the right order’. One such impresario is Elizabeth Schafer, her chosen story that of the Wars’ Reddest Rose, Margaret of Anjou.

Straddling fifty-two years of history, three kings and no fewer than four of Shakespeare’s plays, the story of Queen Margaret is less a power parable, more a tale of the resilience, resolve and charisma that is demanded of a princess, queen, general and mother. Taken from her home in France and married to a foreign king, Margaret fights passionately for her new house. No such fight is without casualties.

Shakespeare Twentyscore and The Puzzle Productions invite you to two staged readings of Shakespeare’s ‘new’ play, Margaret of Anjou. Performances will take place at 7pm on the 8th of July at UNSW’s Io Myers Studio and the 18th of August at the University of Notre Dame Studio, Broadway.

A cast of 16 includes Claire Bird, Teresa Jakovich and Wendy Strehlow as Margaret, Chris Huntly-Turner as Suffolk, John Galea as King Henry VI, and Jane Bergeron as Richard III.

Some further background to the project and a short podcast from the Director are available here.

Margaret of Anjou by William Shakespeare

  • Tickets for 8 July (Io Myers Studio, UNSW) are $10.
  • The performance on 18 August (Notre Dame Studio) is free and unticketed.

For further information contact Anna at

Poster with superimposed stencilled rose. Text with details of performance, as above.

The Shakespeare Carnival is Here

18 June, Sydney.

Sport for Jove’s initiative to offer a creative platform to Shakespeare enthusiasts in high schools is all set to show itself to the world.

This coming Saturday, the State Carnival will showcase the best of the student pieces developed through this new opportunity to creatively engage with Shakespeare’s works.

All through this term schools around the state have been holding in-school and regional competitions in a range of performance and design categories, and now the finalists are ready for showtime. The evening’s performance is taking place at the Seymour Centre, and is open to the public. You can see tomorrow’s stars in shine in work that has been equal parts challenging, creative and inspiring.

Festival director Chris Tomkinson says, “There are a some wonderful performances and delightful talent on display across all the performance categories of song composition, dance, acting and design. Students have participated from all across the city, from many regions outside of Sydney and as far afield as Armidale.
Participants in the finals come from Wollongong, the Blue Mountains, Armidale and, of course, right across Sydney.”

There is no question the desire and the enthusiasm for such an event has been simmering away just waiting for a team like Sport for Jove to give it an outlet. Congratulations to all the students who took part, and the parents and teachers who supported them, and chookas to the finalists!

Tickets are only $20, you can book them here.

Logo, bright purple with graphic of hand with heart drawn on palm.

Taymor’s Dream screening in Melbourne

27 July, Melbourne.

Julie Taymor is acknowledged as one of the most thrilling directors of Shakespeare in the world today. Her New York production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a masterpiece of word, music and image building into something beyond an ordinary piece of theatre.

Man in donkey head costume and small child in white makeup.
A still from the production

Supported by the University of Melbourne’s Shakespeare 400 initiative, and by the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Australian audiences will finally have the chance to immerse themselves in Taymor’s exquisite multi-media, hallucinatory stage world. “Taymor’s Dream was released on film at the Toronto International Film Festival in late 2014 and has had limited release primarily in the UK and North America. This screening for the University of Melbourne community is the Australian premiere.”

Hopefully this will be an inspiration to other cities.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016 from 7:00pm to 9:30pm
Federation Hall – 7-17 Grant Street #5, Southbank, VIC 3006

Tickets are free, but you can book ahead: Full details here.

Help the Pop-Up Globe stay up

Shakespeare performance in Auckland has been given an amazing boost with the appearance of the Pop-Up Globe.

Man and woman on stage, interior of pop-up Globe, with audience.
Performance of Hamlet by the Lord Lackbeards

Running performances from a whole range of companies since February, the theatre’s construction is based on years of research, from historians and theatre scholars including Associate Professor at Sydney University, Tim Fitzpatrick.

It is a wonderful tribute to what can be achieved with a combination of imagination, craft and passion.

Please go to the petition Keep the Pop-Up Globe and sign to help keep the Globe in operation.

Exterior of the Pop-Up Globe.

Coriolanus storms Melbourne

27 April – 8 May, Melbourne.

Heartstrings Theatre Company will perform an all-female Coriolanus, on the model of Phillida Lloyd’s Donmar Warehouse production of Henry V last year.

Shakespeare’s dynamic tale of Coriolanus takes us into a world where the Volscian Army marches on Rome, only for the warrior Coriolanus to drive them back. As the dust settles, though, she finds herself pressured into the snake pit that is political office. With famine threatening and jealous tribunes plotting against her, Coriolanus discovers that the will of people cannot be so easily beaten back with swords…

Company member and co-founder Jo Booth describes why projects like this are so vital:

“Shakespeare is open to interpretation, his work is never presented exactly as it was done in the 17th century. By casting women we aim to bring a new perspective to his words, and show women in a multidimensional light. Coriolanus is one of Shakespeare’s most masculine plays, and we’re exploring how women take on these qualities; rage, vulnerability, ferocity, and present them to a 2016 audience”

Directed by Grant Watson, this new telling of one of Shakespeare’s last tragedies takes a hyper-masculine world full of betrayal and deceit, and flips it on its head in a compelling reimagining.

At Metanoia Theatre, at the Mechanics’ Institute, Brunswick.

Full details here.

Group of 10 white women walking towards camera looking serious.
Heartstrings Company

Shrews Rule!

5-28 May, Sydney.

The Taming of the Shrew by Sport for Jove

Australia’s most consistently fresh and vigorous producers of Shakespeare are remounting their 2011 production of The Taming of the Shrew, directed by company founder Damien Ryan.

Although this is one of Shakespeare’s earlier and arguably less sophisticated comedies, its centring on a question that has obsessed our society for centuries: why the relationship between men and women should be assumed to be a struggle for dominance. The play itself is not solvable, nor offering a solution, but it does make us consider – are we at our best or our worst when we are forced to fight for our identity? Its charismatic lead roles and effervescent comedy mean we keep being tempted to return to the puzzle.

I’ll let the company itself explain the concept:

“Sport for Jove’s world-class production won unanimous critical acclaim in its 2011/12 outdoor Summer Festival Season, where it was nominated for 5 Sydney Theatre Awards including Best Independent Production, Actor, Actress, Director and Design. It also rained. Rained a lot… So we are removing the weather as a factor and remounting this hugely successful production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew on the great Hollywood soundstages of the silent film era.

Shakespeare’s love stories challenge us very deeply. They tend to be models of disharmony and madness in which trust, patience and finally, hope, are only reached through chaos and pain. They are as troubling as they are funny, and as beautiful as they are disturbing. The Taming of the Shrew captures that paradox perfectly, among the most challenging, confronting and exuberant plays ever written.”

Woman with face smudged with dirt, wearing vintage aviator goggles.
May 5th – 7th at the Riverside Theatre Parramatta

May 19th – 28th at the Seymour Centre

Romeo and Juliet: a rose among the wildflowers

12 & 13 March, St Ives.

Also this weekend in the Hunter Valley, and 5 March in Murrumbateman.

Essential Theatre specialise in “Shakespeare in the Vines” performances in vineyards, to a picnicking audience. For two performances only they are bringing their touring production of Romeo and Juliet to the northern Sydney suburb of St Ives, and playing in Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden.

Two men duel with fencing foils among gum trees.


Event information:

Gates open at 4pm with the show commencing at 6pm.There will be two x 50 minute acts with a 20 minute interval. Why not arrive early – relax, unwind and soak up the great picnic atmosphere? Food and drink is available on-site or you can bring your own picnic, but no alcohol can be brought on site. Low-rise chairs will be available for hire or you can bring your own.

Free on-site parking will be available.

This event will go ahead rain, hail or shine. In the event of extreme wet weather or heat the alternative venue will be the Douglas Pickering Pavilion at St Ives Showground, 450 Mona Vale Road St Ives.

Ticket prices are $49 Adults, $44 Concessions and groups of 10 or more, $140 family (2 adults, 2 children).

Full details here.

Black, white and red banner. Text advertising production as detailed above.